if you answer these questions I will take that as a sign that you are an illiterate and your incompetence will be forgiven
Thanks for the forgiveness in advance, but if you don't want something replied to, why put it up on the internet (of all places)? What is the point of writing something like this if not to get a response? You say you've experienced "the" ups downs etc. which sounds like maybe you've "seen it all." Maybe you have, but I doubt it. On the surface it seems like a presumption.
If you're looking for something more competitive, more power to you, but belief is not required for Aikido; I avoid belief as much as possible, and I know a number of other Aikido people who do too. The bottom line is that you want to try something else, and I think you should probably leave it at that if you genuinely want to avoid "belief" in favor of getting at the truth (right now I'm choosing not to believe what you say and instead am choosing to test it the only way I know how, by responding).
The "art" is nothing; the people are everything. Whatever "Art" you train in, make sure it's with people who train/behave in ways you want to train/behave. I think it's as simple as that. You're implying Aikido (a huge group of people and training practices) is faith-based and I take exception to that. That is not the Aikido I have been exposed to. Good luck and train well!